Aaron Rodgers' offseason saga with the Green Bay Packers looks to have finally come to an end.
Rodgers reaffirmed commitment to the Packers came after an agreement on a reworked contract.
The biggest alteration in Rodgers' new contract is the duration of the deal. Rodgers' contract will be void prior to the 2023 season.
The addition of a void year in 2023 means Rodgers will be a free agent following the 2022 season. Not only that, but the way the contract is structured means that the Packers won't be allowed to use the franchise tag on Rodgers in the 2023 offseason.
To put it simply, Rodgers has two more seasons in Green Bay and then he receives the freedom to choose his next destination.
Ultimately, Rodgers seems to have come out on top in negotiations with the Packers.
Most will say the reason the Packers gave into Rodgers is simply due to Rodgers being an MVP-caliber player and the Packers' desire to capture another Super Bowl trophy.
While all that's true, there's another underlying reason the Packers felt they absolutely needed to work something out with Rodgers. The underlying reason was second-year quarterback Jordan Love. Yes, you heard that right, Jordan Love.
Without further ado, here's why Love was key to Rodgers' return to Green Bay.
Why Jordan Love was key to Aaron Rodgers return to Green Bay
Back in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Packers selected Jordan Love in the first round with the idea that he would one day be the Packers' franchise quarterback. Love, who played college football at Utah State, received a ton of hype leading up to the draft.
The scouting report on Love was that of a guy who could make any throw no matter how deep or mobile enough to avoid sacks and make off-platform throws. The qualities Love possessed coming out of college made many make comparisons to Patrick Mahomes.
Not everyone was buying the hype though, as evidenced by the fact Love fell all the way to the 26th overall pick. In college, Love played against inferior competition, and in his final college football season, he didn't play all that well. He had only 20 touchdowns and a whopping 17 interceptions.
Despite the lack of competition and bad 2019 season, the Packers saw it wise to take a gamble on his tremendous upside.
Immediately following the selection of Love, the Packers caught a ton of criticism. Many questioned the Packers' priorities. The Packers were a team looking to win now and they drafted a player who wasn't going to step on the field at all the following season. Others blasted the Packers for drafting Love without notifying Rodgers of the move.
Rodgers himself was reportedly unhappy with the lack of communication from the Packers about selecting Love. The Packers' goal with the pick was obvious. They wanted to find a quarterback to eventually take over for Rodgers.
If the Packers felt Love was ready to fulfill the goal that Packers management set for him on draft day, Rodgers would not currently be in Green Bay. It's as simple as that.
If Love had the full confidence of everyone in the Green Bay organization to be a Mahomes-like quarterback, the Packers would have traded Rodgers this offseason and landed a bunch of assets for the 2020 NFL MVP.
Is it crazy to think about a team trading a quarterback coming off an MVP season? Sure it is. But the Packers and many other teams throughout NFL history have shown a willingness to move off legendary quarterbacks when they know they have something special waiting in the wings.
The only fundamental difference here is that love isn't ready to be Rodgers, Luck, or Young just yet. There wasn't a conceivable way the Packers were going to move away from Rodgers without someone ready to take over.
What's next for Jordan Love
Both this offseason and last offseason, reports have been littered throughout Green Bay speaking of the struggles Love has had so far in his young career. He's not yet lived up to the hype of being a first-round draft pick.
That said, Love is only 22 years old. He's got a ton of time to grow and become more technically sound. All the natural talent is there, he just needs time and good coaching to put it all together.
With Rodgers now signed for two more seasons, the clock resets on Love. Green Bay management has bought themselves two more seasons to develop the former Utah State quarterback. By 2023, the Packers are banking on the fact Love will be ready to take over.
For now, Love will remain the backup quarterback. It's not all bad though. If Love plays his cards right, he'll take advantage of the situation and learn a ton about being a great quarterback from Rodgers.